Tuesday 24 October 2017

Proud community pulls together to show off village

Blackrock Tidy Towns Chairman, John Horan.
Blackrock Tidy Towns Chairman, John Horan.

THE entire Blackrock community stepped up to the mark last Friday when adjudicators and other officials from the 32-county Pride of Place competition visited the village.

The judges were welcomed at the Community Centre by children from St. Oliver Plunkett's school before attending a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation by the Tidy Towns, which outlined how the various community groups in the village work together for the benefit of the whole community.

They met representatives from the Community Centre Committee and Rock Celtic FC before being taken on a guided tour of the park by the Park Committee. There they met children, parents and teachers from St. Francis' school and St. Fursey's school who explained their Eco-Tribes gardens to the judges.

After a short break for refreshments at the Seomra Glas, organised by parents and children from Gort na Glaise in conjunction with the Tidy Towns, the judges met representatives from Blackrock Athletics Club and the Geraldine's.

A walking tour of the promenade and Main Street area followed, where the Tidy Towns explained the various projects that had been undertaken in recent years to bring the village up the the award-winning standards it currently enjoys.

Representatives from the traders and Seaside Festival Committee met the judges and a CrossCause volunteer explained how the Blackrock community supports underprivileged children in Romania and Ghana.

A minibus tour of Blackrock village followed courtesy of Rock Cabs, and the judges saw the church, the Golf Club and Hamilton Marsh before stopping off at St. Francis's school, where the principal and children described the features of their state-of-the-art facility.

There was a short stop on the way back to the village centre to meet the Community Employment Scheme, followed by a visit to Goirt na Mara and Rock Court housing estates. On arrival back at the Sundial, the judges were entertained by traditional Irish musicians from the Blackrock Music School.

The entire event was facilitated by Mary Murtagh, Pride of Place Liaison Officer for Louth County Council.

'Blackrock Tidy Towns would like to thank everyone who helped make this such a memorable day for the village,' said Tidy Towns chairman John Horan. 'By working together we were able to portray Blackrock in the best possible light, and everyone really did their bit to make sure this happened.'

'We would have loved to include every group in the village in the proceedings, but time allowed us to include only a representative sample.'

The results of the competition will be announced in Ennis, Co. Clare in November, but whether Blackrock wins an award or not, the village can only benefit from the exposure this competition has provided.

In the meantime, because of its shortlisting for a Tourism Towns award, Blackrock continues to be the focus of attention for competition judges, some of whom will be visiting the village over the next few weeks to assess its attraction as a visitor destination.

'Mystery shoppers' will review the village and what it has to offer, and shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs in particular are asked to be alert so that a favourable impression of Blackrock will be conveyed.

'The potential economic benefits to the village from doing well in these competitions are immense,' Mr Horan added.

The Argus